Many people think that minimalism = nomadism. While these two “isms” intersect quite a bit, the reality is that you don’t have to get rid of everything and live out of a backpack to be a minimalist. In fact, for some people, nomadism is not a viable lifestyle choice.
But just because you don’t want to be a nomad doesn’t mean that you can’t be a minimalist. In fact, I love travel, and I love camping. However, I’m not sure I could live always on the move. And, even though I haven’t gotten rid of everything I own, I do believe in simplifying and reducing the clutter in my life.
Nomadism and Compatibility with Minimalism
Nomadism is particularly compatible with minimalism, mainly because when you are moving around all the time, you are pretty much forced to figure out what you absolutely need, and then leave the rest behind.
Moving from place to place means that you need to reduce the amount stuff you carry with you. It also makes it difficult to accumulate stuff. If you only stay in one place for no more than a few months at a time, and you know you will move on soon, it doesn’t make sense to buy a lot of stuff. By default you are a minimalist.
However, you don’t have to get rid of everything and travel the world constantly in order to be a minimalist.
Minimalism at Home
I have a family, and that means that I will not likely become a nomad anytime soon. My husband isn’t very fond of travel, and my son is school. (I don’t have the patience or desire to homeschool.) Plus, I do like the stability of having a place to call my own. I like a home base.
But that doesn’t mean that I can’t apply minimalist principles to my life. Being settled does present some challenges to a minimalist lifestyle, though. First of all, it’s hard to stop accumulating more stuff. After all, when you have a place to keep it, it’s much easier to justify buying it. Additionally, being settled in a community also means that sometimes my life gets cluttered. I need to pull back sometimes and remember that I don’t need to be so busy all the time.
However, these challenges only underscore the importance of applying minimalist principles to my life. Being at home, and trying to keep things simple, means that I have to remind myself regularly of what’s important. It’s not better than being a nomad; it’s just different, and it comes with different challenges.
In the end, being a minimalist is whatever you want it to be. Rather than focusing on what others do as minimalists, look at your own lifestyle preferences. In the end, minimalism boils down to simplifying your life and doing what’s most important to you. It doesn’t mean you have to get rid of all your stuff, and it doesn’t mean that you have to ditch the settled abode and wander the world (although if it makes you happy, you should go for it).
What do you think about minimalism and the challenges of a minimalist lifestyle?